Your favorite HGTV hosts offer everything from homebuying advice to renovation tips. After binge-watching more episodes of their addictive shows than you’ll care to admit, it’s hard to imagine these HGTV stars doing anything but doling out home advice to the masses. But these hosts had to earn a living somehow before they became reality show stalwarts.
Known for: “Flip or Flop” and “Christina on the Coast”
Then: Before “Flip or Flop” debuted in 2013, Christina Haack was a real estate agent who recently had forayed into the house-flipping business with now-ex-husband Tarek El Moussa.
Now: Beyond filming “Flip or Flop,” the interior design expert is busy with her own HGTV show, “Christina on the Coast,” which premiered in early 2019 and follows Haack as she expands her design business throughout Southern California. In 2020, she started Christina @ Home, a home-furnishing line.
Known for: “My Lottery Dream Home,” “HGTV Design Star,” “Color Splash” and “Rock the Block”
Then: The original winner of “HGTV Design Star,” David Bromstad started his career as a Disney illustrator.
Now: Still an HGTV regular, Bromstad offers a number of design services, including design consultation, interior design, furniture design, fine art and mural art.
Known for: “Boise Boys”
Then: Before transforming homes throughout Boise, Idaho, with his partner Clint Robertson on HGTV, Luke Caldwell worked as a professional musician. His travels around the world inspire his designs.
Now: Caldwell and Robertson debut their new show on HGTV, “Outgrown,” in September. In “Outgrown,” they renovate the homes of those families that are growing and need more space. That’s something he knows about firsthand. Caldwell and his wife, Miranda, have eight children — three biological and five adopted.
Known for: “Rehab Addict” and “Flipping the Block”
Then: When HGTV found Nicole Curtis, she was already a real estate agent who rehabbed historical properties. Before that, she worked as a waitress and a housekeeper.
Now: Curtis wrote the book “Better Than New,” which published in 2016. She also continues to renovate homes in Minneapolis and Detroit. Earlier this year, she starred in an eight-episode HGTV show, “Rehab Addict Rescue,” in which she helped homeowners who were overmatched trying to renovate their home.
Known for: “Bargain Mansions”
Then: Tamara Day started fixing up homes out of necessity. She and her husband Bill purchased a 5,000-square-foot home in 2008 that needed a total renovation to be livable. When the recession hit, Day had to figure out how to do much of the fixing herself. Her hands-on approach and knack for design with big old houses got the attention of the local press, which helped her launch her design career and eventually landed her an HGTV show.
Now: “Bargain Mansions” now airs on HGTV’s sister network, DIY. Fans of her aesthetic can shop her Growing Days home goods, which include area rugs, art, candles, bedding, decor and more. Her store, Growing Days Home by Tamara Day, is in Prairie Village, Kansas.
Tarek El Moussa
Known for: “Flip or Flop,” “Flipping 101 With Tarek El Moussa”
Then: Tarek El Moussa got his real estate license at age 21 and found success selling multimillion-dollar houses in Orange County, California. This turned into flipping his first house in 2005.
Now: “Flip or Flop” continues to be one of HGTV’s staples, even after the divorce of El Moussa and ex-wife Christina Haack. Like Haack, who also stars in “Christina on the Coast,” El Moussa has a solo show, “Flipping 101 With Tarek El Moussa.” He coaches and mentors first-time flippers, sharing his secrets of success with them.
Known for: “Love It or List It” and “Brother Vs. Brother”
Then: Before HGTV fame, Farr served as president of her eponymous interior design company Hilary Farr Designs. She also had a small role in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Now: She’s still running Hilary Farr Designs but has created her own collection of home items. The products include furniture, lighting, area rugs and accessories all created to reflect her love of art and nature, florals, geometrics and abstracts.
Known for: “Restored by the Fords,” “Rock the Block,” “Home Again with the Fords”
Then: Leanne Ford always has been a creative, though she hasn’t always worked in interior design. Ford started out in the fashion industry, working for nearly 15 years as a stylist and creative director in New York City and Los Angeles. She gained acclaim as an interior designer when she and her brother, Steve, restored and designed a 1907 schoolhouse in their hometown of Pittsburgh.
Now: Ford and her brother co-wrote a book, “Work in Progress: Unconventional Thoughts on Designing an Extraordinary Life,” in 2019. Her design work has been seen in a number of publications, including Architectural Digest and The New York Times.
Known for: “Restored by the Fords,” “Home Again with the Fords”
Then: Steve Ford worked part-time as a contractor and took on seasonal construction gigs while pursuing his athletic passions, which include skiing, snowboarding and rafting.
Now: Ford and his sister debuted “Home Again with the Fords” in 2021. They helped families return to their beloved hometown of Pittsburgh by renovating homes for them.
Known for: “Fixer Upper”
Then: Before he was famous, Chip and his wife, Joanna Gaines, were renovating houses through their construction business Magnolia Homes in Waco, Texas.
Now: “Fixer Upper” ended in 2018 after five seasons on HGTV, but it represented a new beginning for Chip and Joanna. They expanded their business holdings, which include Magnolia Market, their Hearth & Hand with Magnolia line at Target, vacation rentals and the restaurant Magnolia Table.
Known for: “Fixer Upper”
Then: Before deciding to fully focus on their home construction business, Joanna and Chip Gaines opened the first iteration of Magnolia Market in 2003. They closed the business after having their first two kids but decided to reopen Magnolia Market in 2014. They now are parents of five children.
Now: In between working on renovation projects and running Magnolia Market, Joanna enjoys life on her farm, cooking and gardening. And she undoubtedly is very busy working with Chip on Magnolia Network, a collection of original shows they’ve curated. The network now is available on Discovery+ and through the Magnolia app, and it will air on television in January.
Known for: “Love It or List It Too” and “Love It or List It Vancouver”
Then: One of the most recognizable HGTV stars, Jillian Harris starred on “The Bachelorette” during the show’s fifth season. At the time, she had a successful restaurant design career.
Now: Harris was recognizable as the co-cost of “Love It or List It Too,” in which she redesigned properties in Canada for clients whose homes no longer worked for them. Through her website, she runs a variety of businesses, including the Jilly Academy, an online platform designed to teach entrepreneurs, influencers and others about brand strategy, marketing, content creation and more.
Karen E. Laine
Known for: “Good Bones”
Then: Karen E. Laine was working as a lawyer when she got bitten by the home renovation bug. She continued her full-time career while taking on side renovation projects with her daughter and co-host, Mina Starsiak Hawk, until HGTV discovered the mother-daughter duo and gave them their own show, USA Today reported.
Now: Laine rehabbed houses around Indianapolis through the company she and Starsiak Hawk ran, Two Chicks and a Hammer, until her retirement in 2019. Starsiak Hawk continues to operate the business.
Known for: “Supersize My Pool”
Then: Mario Lopez is new to HGTV stardom, but he’s no stranger to the camera. The actor and host first gained fame as A.C. Slater on “Saved by the Bell,” which he starred on in the ’80s and ’90s.
Now: In addition to helping families upgrade their backyards on “Supersize My Pool” — which he both produces and hosts — Lopez is the co-host of “Extra.” He also hosts two radio shows, a boxing podcast and the travel food show “Food Quest” on A&E. In September, Lopez will become the host of “Access Hollywood” and “Access Daily,” Deadline reported.
Known for: “One of a Kind”
Then: Before starring on HGTV, Grace Mitchell already had a following through her blog, A Storied Style. The Forth Worth, Texas-based mom of four started the blog in 2012, and when her kids were older, she began consulting with design clients again, helping them to create personalized homes.
Now: “One of a Kind” premiered in March 2019. Mitchell’s work has been featured in prestigious home publications, including Southern Living, House Beautiful and Elle Décor.
Known for: “Home Town”
Then: Prefame, Ben Napier and his wife and co-host, Erin, were running general store Laurel Mercantile with four friends, in addition to his woodworking company Scotsman Co.
Now: Largely considered the new Chip and Joanna Gaines, Ben and Erin are staying busy with “Home Town” and their store, Laurel Mercantile, which sells heirloom wares and durable goods. The fourth season of “Home Town” premieres in January 2020.
Known for: “Home Town”
Then: Before getting married and running several businesses with her husband Ben, Erin Napier was an art student at the University of Mississippi, which is where the couple met. Pre-HGTV fame, Napier started her own stationery company Lucky Luxe.
Now: Erin and Ben restore and renovate historic homes in a small Mississippi town. They also are members of a local group that works to grow the historic downtown district where they live. The couple welcomed their second daughter in 2021.
Known for: “Boise Boys”
Then: Before teaming up with his best friend, Luke Caldwell, to transform homes in Idaho’s capital city, the licensed contractor obtained law and business degrees and pursued a number of entrepreneurial ventures. He also worked as a business attorney and CPA and carries a brokers license in addition to his contractor’s license. “Boise Boys” actually isn’t Robertson’s first time on reality TV — he previously appeared on “The Apprentice.”
Now: Clint has started Heart for Home, a business designed to help lower income families in his native Texas achieve home ownership. It also helps to build life skills and job opportunities to allow families to own their homes instead of rent.
Known for: “Hidden Potential,” “Rock the Block,” “Help! I Wrecked My House”
Then: Jasmine Roth has working various jobs since age 15. Her first job was as a fitness instructor at Curves Fitness.
Now: On her most recent show, “Help! I Wrecked My House,” Roth has helped homeowners fix their unsuccessful do-it-yourself projects. Her new book, “House Story,” shows home renovators how to achieve the look they want for their home through tips and step-by-step instructors.
Known for: “Property Brothers,” “Property Brothers: Buying and Selling,” “Brother Vs. Brother” and “Property Brothers: Forever Home” and “Celebrity IOU”
Then: Before “Property Brothers” debuted in 2011, Drew Scott was an aspiring actor with $100,000 in debt. You might’ve seen him on an episode of “Smallville” in 2006.
Now: The 2017 “Dancing With the Stars” contestant stays busy with his HGTV shows. He, along with twin brother Jonathan, also has a line of home goods called Scott Living, runs the lifestyle site DrewAndJonathan.com and is co-CEO of home renovation site Casaza.
Known for: “Property Brothers,” “Property Brothers: Buying and Selling,” “Brother Vs. Brother,” “Property Brothers: Forever Home” and “Celebrity IOU”
Then: Before becoming one of the biggest HGTV stars, Jonathan Scott was an aspiring magician who filed for bankruptcy. Like his brother, he also dabbled in acting.
Now: Beyond hosting their HGTV shows and running the Scott brothers’ various businesses, he and Drew have co-authored two New York Times best-selling books. They also wrote two children’s books. Their lifestyle magazine, Drew+Jonathan Reveal, recently launched, as did their Drew+Jonathan Home collection.
Known for: “Build Me Up,” formerly known as “Unspouse My House”
Then: You might recognize Orlando Soria from a different HGTV show. He appeared as Emily Henderson’s on-camera assistant on the home makeover show “Secrets From a Stylist.” Working with Henderson inspired Soria to become an interior designer himself, and he founded the firm Hommemade Design.
Now: Soria designs spaces for clients through his Orlando Soria Decor brand and blogs on his website, OrlandoSoria.com. He’s also the author of a book that mixes home décor and life advice, “Get It Together!”
Known for: “Good Bones,” “Rock the Block”
Then: Mina Starsiak-Hawk graduated from Indiana University in 2007 and wasn’t sure what she was going to do next. While she was figuring it out, she worked as a waitress. As a way to feel more “adult,” she purchased a $12,000 home with a co-sign from her mother and co-host Karen E. Laine, and the two decided to fix it up together. One house flip led to another, and their company, Two Chicks and a Hammer, was born. But Starsiak Hawk continued to work as a waitress until they signed with HGTV in 2014, USA Today reported.
Now: Despite her mom’s retirement from Two Chicks and a Hammer, Starsiak Hawk continues to renovate homes in Indianapolis. The company website says she is able to finish about 14 houses each year.
Known for: “Windy City Rehab,” “Rock the Block,” “Flipping Across America”
Then: Before Alison Victoria made her HGTV debut in January 2019 as the star of “Windy City Rehab,” she already was known by many viewers as the host of DIY Network’s “Kitchen Crashers.” Victoria always has had a passion for home improvement — she convinced her mom to let her make over their basement at the age of 10. Before becoming an HGTV star, Victoria ran her own interior design firm with offices in Chicago and Las Vegas, and also created her own line of luxury furniture and home furnishings, the Alison Victoria Collection.
Now: In addition to her TV commitments, Victoria continues to work with clients whose homes need renovation and redesign in the Chicago area. She competed against Leanne Ford, Jasmine Roth and Mina Starsiak Hawk on HGTV’s competition show “Rock the Block.”
Known for: “Love It or List It” and “Brother Vs. Brother”
Then: A realtor since 1987, David Visentin already had more than 20 years of experience when “Love It or List It” debuted in 2008.
Now: While recent seasons of “Love It or List It” have focused on properties in the Raleigh, North Carolina, area, it got its start in Toronto, where Visentin continues to sell real estate.
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